A last gasp equaliser by Robin van Persie ensured that the spoils were shared by former master (Louis van Gaal) and his old protege (Jose Mourinho) yesterday, as Manchester United drew 1-1 with Chelsea. It was looking like "The Theatre of Dreams" for the Blues, until the Dutchman stepped up deep into injury time to pull his side level and send the majority inside Old Trafford into delirium.
The draw ensures that Chelsea have not disappeared into the sunset quite yet in the #Premier League standings, but they still look well placed, four points clear of surprise packages Southampton in second. The Blues gained further ground on their rivals Manchester City, who also equalised against them late on at the Etihad last month and are the only other side to have taken points off them so far this season, as City suffered defeat at the hands of West Ham on Saturday.
Mourinho did not seem best pleased at the final whistle, surely seeing this as two points dropped, yet his side remain undefeated this term in the league. It remains to be seen whether they can match the "invincibles" of Arsenal from 2003-4, but they look to be the strong early favourites for the title at least.
The second half looked to be going the Blues' way after Didier Drogba (starting in the continued absence of Diego Costa) had glanced a near post header in to the net from a corner, earned when a burst from Eden Hazard straight through the heart of United's defence had almost led to him scoring seconds earlier. Mourinho's men seemed to be carrying out his plans perfectly as the clock wound down, only for the Reds to somehow find inspiration as the match entered injury time aided by a moment of controversy.First, Ivanovic was sent off for a second yellow card as he needlessly clipped Angel Di Maria's heels (not for the first time) as the Argentinian was going away from the penalty area, to reduce Chelsea to ten men. Then as the resultant free-kick from the left was launched into the box, Marouane Fellaini's header was saved by Courtois only to fall perfectly to van Persie, who needed no second invitation and rammed the rebound into the net.
United may be no closer to regaining their title credentials, but at least they will have renewed confidence after what had seemed an unlikely comeback for large parts of the game. They will be bolstered by the return of Wayne Rooney after his suspension next time out and will hope that Di Maria can get the necessary treatment to improve his recent thigh injury, that looked to limit his impact slightly against Chelsea.
Chelsea will seek to get Diego Costa back to spearhead their challenge in attack, after the virus he has been suffering with ruled him out of the United match. They will also be glad that their two visits to Manchester are completed for another season, surely two of their trickiest ties during the Premier League season.